Improving Emotional Wellbeing and its Connection to Fertility
Updated: Mar 24
I often hear from patients that they are told conflicting statements when it comes to fertility and stress/overall mental wellbeing. Some have told them that this has a significant impact on fertility while others have informed them that they're is no relationship between the two whatsoever.
The truth is that, based on current available research, there is reason to believe that mood, stress, and emotional wellbeing may have an impact on fertility outcomes. To what extent or if this affects all patients or only those that face extremely high levels of stress is yet to be determined.
Overall, there are many individual research papers that have found a relationship between regular meditation and reduction in depression and anxiety severity, potentially reducing the chances of relapse for major depressive disorder (MDD), its impact on cardiovascular health, and its beneficial impact on our immune system. We also know that increased levels of stress are associated with hormonal imbalances, particularly, increases in prolactin levels and potentially reduced sex hormones levels.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis research paper was recently published evaluating the results from multiple studies and their findings are very interesting to say the least. The new research paper found that use of various psychosocial interventions (i.e. mindfulness practises, music therapy, journaling and more) were associated with an increase in clinical pregnancy rates for patients undergoing in-vitro-fertilization (IVF). Pregnancy rates were increased by 12% in couples that engaged in one of the psychosocial interventions and 21% in couples that participated in the activity every day for an extended period of time (>15 days).
While this research paper established correlation and not causation, this should be discussed with your healthcare provider considering the relatively high safety profile of such therapies, their cost-effectiveness, and additional research supporting benefits for overall wellbeing.
Katyal, N., Poulsen, C. M., Knudsen, U. B., & Frederiksen, Y. (2021). The association between psychosocial interventions and fertility treatment outcome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 259, 125-132.